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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We left Cunards Queen Elizabeth to join this cruise for New Year thinking the entertainment would be more fun and Indy it was. The ships entertainment crew are quite brilliant and deserve a huge pat on the back for all the shows but ... Read More
We left Cunards Queen Elizabeth to join this cruise for New Year thinking the entertainment would be more fun and Indy it was. The ships entertainment crew are quite brilliant and deserve a huge pat on the back for all the shows but especially for the musical show which got a standing ovation...but alas that's where the good stops. On arrival to the ship our cabins were not ready and we were told to go to the Buffet area for something to eat. My friend chose roast beef - on eating his first mouthful his spat it out saying it tasted horrible - as a chef myself I could see the meat was not right and on smelling it confirmed it was VERY OFF. I immediately told the manager not to serve any more and to remove it from service which he assured me he had done, but no follow up explanation. This buffet area is dire with most of the dishes on offer being made up - one day bangers and mash, awful. Prawn pizza awful, fish pie - like water. We gave up and thought we would try the grill area. Stone cold burgers, stale sandwiches and baguettes - chips shrewd all over the floor just terrible. The chef in a woolly hat and a complete lack of love or care. On arrival at the Cabin, bathroom mirrors dirty, long black ladies hair on the towels ( we were two men) dirty balcony windows and a very unkept feel in dated and very tired cabins. That said our Steward was friendly and rectified what he could. The food in the main dining room is better especially if you stick to the simple things - prawn cocktail was good and a cottage pie on the first night excellent as we're parts of the New Year's Eve gala dinner, especially the rack of lamb. And then there is the Glass House ...... an alternative dining venue. Please don't build your hopes up our first visit was better but the 2nd visit resulted in a 40 minute wait for a table. Follewd by a further 10 minute Wait at the table only to be informed that we might have to wait for a "long time" for our food and that they had run out of most dishes and triple cut chips. Our steak meal inedible resulting in some 20 visits to the loo the day after with severe stomach cramps to boot. Summing up standards are low if you search about you might get a few nice dishes but that shouldn't be the case. If P & 0 are offering something it should at least be edible. I am also concerned about hygiene and stock rotation. No chef should allow food out of their kitchen that is not edible and the roast beef and the steaks in the glass house were not. Neither should we experience a room that is anything other than spotless and ours was not including an out of date yoghurt in the mini fridge. Both my friend and I have suffered stomach pains, sickness and diahorrea for two days this is either caused by the food or by the lack of public hygiene with hand gels. You don't get into a Cunard dining venue without antiseptic gel on your hands. I saw hardly anybody use it on the Aurora Much needs to be done and if you are thinking of going think twice Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except ... Read More
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except room service to get a drink. Staff entertainment didn’t show up on numerous occasions. Was a complete waste of money, hated every moment of being on the ship. Luckily we managed to see some amazing places. Great thing was the room, always clean and tidy. Although they never topped up the mini bar. Found out towards the end that you had to ask and sign for anything after the first night. Plus only complimentary water on the first night! Just constantly felt like there was nothing to do, was definitely aimed at the older crowd. If you want to know how to get rid of fluid retention this is your ship *yawn* Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the ... Read More
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the phone even more difficult. The coach trip to Southampton was well communicated and the coach was large and spacious. The fact that coach parked well away from the pick up point was a major problem as we had to man handle our luggage several hundred yards in wet conditions. ( This was true of the return journey too) Registration was smooth as was the emergency briefing. The food in the Horizon restuarant (breakfast and lunch) was on a par with a Wetherstones pub. Scrambled eggs made with egg powder and toast as hard as biscuits with no difference in choice from day to day. One egg station with massive queues. Lunch offered a more varied choice but the quality and presentation ( apart from desserts) was a low standard. Food apparently haphazardly piled into heated trays. Dinner in the Medina restuarant was much better but apart from Christmas Day the food on the two other formal nights was not special. Service in the restaurants and bars was mixed. The almost complete reliance on male waiters and bar staff was most surprising - some were very good but others surly and arrogant, particularly when dealing with my wife who is Asian and was ignored or looked down upon on many occasions. Evening entertainment was very limited. The Headliners sang and danced to popular groups/genres and were well drilled. Hardly West End show performers though and the 'shows' lacked creativity, uniqueness or any 'wow' factor. The stopping off points, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges were well selected and the best parts of our trip. The guests on board were mainly couples and for the most part elderly. My wife christened the cruise ship a floating nursing home as many many guests were infirm needing help in one way or another to get round the ship. The ones in motorized wheelchairs were reckless and seemed to have little regard for fellow passengers whilst the ones on sticks or walking frames seemed to block passageways by walking 2 or 3 abreast. All in all a very disappointing experience and one I will not repeat. The difference between the Royal Caribean experience and the P&O Aurora experience is so vast it cannot sensibly be measured in my view. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Having been on Oriana on a 17 day cruise around the canary islands, September 2017, my heart SANK when my wife told me that she'd booked a Xmas market cruise on Aurora. I've never had a good experience on this ship and this ... Read More
Having been on Oriana on a 17 day cruise around the canary islands, September 2017, my heart SANK when my wife told me that she'd booked a Xmas market cruise on Aurora. I've never had a good experience on this ship and this cruise was no exception. The Champions bar is an open area one side of the main thoroughfare with the fruit machines banging away on the other side, went there once on first day, rude, disinterested bar staff, never went back. Raffles bar was true to form, one day it was busy and hardly any staff, we were ignored for so long it was quicker to go to the self service on 12 and bring food down, another day it was very quiet and I had a pot of tea and a sandwich; I went back to the counter for a cake, Oh No! One pot of tea = one roll or a cake, you can't have both! As expected, disinterested staff and the ' One Cake Rule ' applied randomly. I went to deck 12 and brought back a plate of cakes. We complained to reception. Much use that was. We usually retired to Andersons Bar at 11pm for cocktails, an experience once again ruined by a cleaner coming along every night at about 11.15 with a faulty Henry vacuum cleaner that sounded like a small jet engine. I should not have to raise my voice or lean closer to hear someone talking to me because of that racket, lasting abour 20 minutes, I complained to the bar staff but was told " she's only doing her job". Disgraceful. Well at least there's the Crow's Nest, oops! no seats available. On previous cruises I was never able to get much use of the ridiculously small weight training section of the Gym, usually because Aurora staff were using it. I didn't even bother wasting my time on this cruise. Here's the good bit; we were freedom dining and happened to get the same table every night. The food was first class and the waiters were excellent. What a shame that Oriana is going, I've had many excellent cruises on that ship, I'll not go on Aurora again. And before I forget, the Beach Hut which is 'enhanced dining' doesn't do cheese and biscuits after the main meal, off to deck 12 again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we have sailed with P&O a few times as well as with other cruises companies. i am sad to say the quality offered by P&O feels like a company in Austerity but i will start with the good points. The cabin was clean and the staff ... Read More
we have sailed with P&O a few times as well as with other cruises companies. i am sad to say the quality offered by P&O feels like a company in Austerity but i will start with the good points. The cabin was clean and the staff worked hard. They were very friendly, cabin crew, waiter etc. The weather was good once we reached Greece. Some of the entertainers bought on to perform were excellent. The table we sat with for dinner was excellent. Sadly the the rest went downhill. The food the the restaurant and the horizon was poor quality and repetitive. The meat was often tough, the Salmon was dry and skin burnt on one occasion then fine the next, guess what i'm saying is there was no consistency. Roast beef was on the menu a number of times but not a yorkshire pudding to be found, roast potatoes were deep fat fried rather than roasted. Room service is now all chargeable except for breakfast for which choice is reduced and a cooked breakfast no longer available. Even the biscuits in the cabin have been changed to a poorer quality and now are no better than rich tea. Once upon a time there use to be a small dish of sweets in the cabin but alas this is a past memory. Not a chocoholic afternoon tea in sight. it is now chargeable for materials for art classes, the fit steps and other fitness classes more cost cutting exercises. The headliners who did more shows than i have ever seen, were weak and it was poor. left me feeling this was a cost cutting exercise. The entertainment team had little presence and the dance teachers seem fed up and it seemed as if it was a effort. the entertainment was poorly organised and lacked creativity. On one sea day they put an extra film on in one of the other venues however this turned out to be the darkest hour which had already been shown earlier in the week. Another day the movie was Saturday night fever in the cinema. The T.V in the cabin was something out of Noah's ark limited channels, no choice, really old films i remember from being i child and i am heading toward being 60. The T.V was so small i could hardly see it and i was wearing my glasses. On a sea day the roof over the pool was left open after Malta despite it being windy, even with a number of people asking for it to be closed as it was too cold to use the facilities. Sadly we were advised a decision had been made to leave it open but then it was closed for the Mama Mia party but not for the comfort of the customers. the cabin crew use to fold the towels and make a display of them on the beds this is just another fond memory not once in 17 days but them again if they are cleaning and responsible for more cabins the extra are cut back on. what can i say i can not agree with their advertising this is the life. It certainly is no longer. when a company makes so many cuts they risk reducing the experience and sadly i would say they have achieve this. it no longer feels like a luxury experience more like any other holiday. i think other cruise companies are now offering more Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise for the destinations, we have done lots of cruises but never cruised with P&O before but have friends who have so were going on their recommendations. The embarkation was very efficient at the Mayflower cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations, we have done lots of cruises but never cruised with P&O before but have friends who have so were going on their recommendations. The embarkation was very efficient at the Mayflower cruise terminal. When we entered the ship we were just directed in the vague direction of the lifts, unlike other cruise experiences where we have been shown to our cabin by cabin stewards. When we arrived at our cabin it was not very clean, dusty and there were hairs in the bath uggh. The 2nd morning the toilet flush failed, it took 3 phone calls and over 1hour to get a response and then it failed again the next day. The service in the Alexandra restaurant was at times very slow, the menu was repetative and some very strange items ie; salt&vinegar icecream, liquorice jelly (I didnt dare to try). I found this the most confusing ship to find my way around in some cases to get from front to back you had to go up a floor walk through to the next lift and then go back down. I much prefer the other ships/cruise lines I have travelled on, Fred Olsen all thier ships and Cunard Queen Elizabeth I will be cruising with them in the future but definately not P&O. I did however enjoy the ports we stopped at with exception of New York which was the most unwelcoming cruise terminal I have ever visited, its just a wharehouse type shed, no information of help desk. When we were walking back to the ship after an evening trip there were bags of rubbish everywhere and rats running in and out of the bushes. We had some very good excursions in each of the ports, I think one of the best was the Sugar Shack in Quebec it was a fun night out and the last port on our cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My family booked onto this cruise as a birthday gift for my brother turning 21. We have been on a few cruises before and this is the first time I've ever experienced any issues. First issue was that we requested cabins with baths. ... Read More
My family booked onto this cruise as a birthday gift for my brother turning 21. We have been on a few cruises before and this is the first time I've ever experienced any issues. First issue was that we requested cabins with baths. Travel agent said not a problem but upon embarkation we found out that only one cabin had one. Tried to complain to P&O about this but they explained they were fully booked. We're not demanding passengers, We just expect to have the same kind of service you would have in a high street restaurant at the very minimum. However any time we ordered a drink, food or such outside of the restaurants, we would have a very rude reaction from the staff. We bought a pepsi card, every time we tried to use it, we would have the staff member look at us and walk off without saying so much as a "sure thing!" or "Not a problem!". The cruise we were on had a number of young stag do's on board so we assume that the staff were overworked and stressed out by how intimidating they were being but it's still no excuse to treat other passengers that way. We had pre-ordered a birthday cake for my brothers 21st to be delivered to the table at sindhu, they didn't know what happened to the cake after we enquired. The next day we were told they "found it" and delivered it to the table. I know they tried to do right but having a cake a day late isn't what we paid for. Amongst this, The buffet area was mislabeling food, I had an allergic reaction as they listed fish as chicken. I brought it to the attention of the manager at the time who just took all the labels off the food and walked off. Complained the next morning and was told it was going to be looked into. To give credit where credit is due, The team at Sindhu were fantastic and so was the food! Our waiter at dinner as well as our wine waiter were also top class. It's just a shame that outside of dinnertime, we were treated incredibly badly. The locations were great, the weather was also great so it's hard to say the entire holiday is ruined, I just remember on previous cruises we would be so happy to get back on board the ship because we'd be treated well and have good food and drink no matter what we experienced on shore. I think this cruise was ruined by the stag do's to be honest. I don't mind people having fun but when they are intimidating staff and passengers, getting extremely drunk and rowdy, someone should cut off their alcohol supply. I'm also shocked that a few of them were smoking weed on the top deck by the pool and no staff tried to stop them. I think they were scared and the exhaustion was taken out on other passengers for this rowdy groups behaviour. This whole experience has left me never wanting to use P&O/Carnival Group again and I'd advise anybody looking to take a cruise on the aurora to take a second think. I met other Cruise Critic users on board who had similar experiences and I expect there to be a few more from the same journey to share the same reviews. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
A Dirty and tired ship . Most of the staff are friendly and very helpful a few rude staff on reception . Hygiene on board is very bad . Hand washing is not actively promoted or enforced in public areas Entertainment was laughable ... Read More
A Dirty and tired ship . Most of the staff are friendly and very helpful a few rude staff on reception . Hygiene on board is very bad . Hand washing is not actively promoted or enforced in public areas Entertainment was laughable very poor ! The food was plentiful but average to poor quality very little choice for special diets . Indian style food far too often ,most of the desserts contain animal derived gelatins seats in the self service buffet are stained With early departures 16.30 at ports of call you really cannot enjoy a good full day on shore . Be prepared to walk to get to the towns shuttles are not provided everywhere as promoted. The cabins are dark dusty and dingy the carpets in them were stained and dirty the showers dribble from hot to cold . Excursions are expensive and not always available if there is not enough uptake and so are canceled frequently.The spa is expensive for very poor quality treatments ! A cruise is what you make it however if you value cleanliness and quality this ship is not for you. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We have just returned from a 3 night mini break from Adelaide to Melbourne via Kangaroo Island. The ship herself, is very dated , liked nannas house, only missing the plastic covers on the chairs ! On the positive side, there is a ... Read More
We have just returned from a 3 night mini break from Adelaide to Melbourne via Kangaroo Island. The ship herself, is very dated , liked nannas house, only missing the plastic covers on the chairs ! On the positive side, there is a full length walking track on deck 7, a kettle in the cabin and the pressure in the shower is good. I also loved my balcony, sitting out there reading , listening to the waves or eating breaky was the highlight for me. The other thing that I really liked as there was not the constant pressure to buy things / sales/ spa treatments etc like I've found oppressive on the american ships. This was a standout for me, so thanks P&O , well done ! To be left in peace was much appreciated. On the negative, my cabin was under prepared with nothing in the mini bar but crumbs from the last occupants sandwich, the shower curtain was dirty as where the windows and glass screen on the balcony, the pamper pack had items missing, there were no pool towels or dish of sweets. The TV was tiny and reception poor. Some of the staff were fantastic, others I found were grumpy and seemed put out by even the most simple request. There seemed a lack of pride in the ship. I wasn't expecting gourmet food, but something edible would have been nice- simple food done well, however this expectation was not met. Many of our meals were sent back. Lunch I found the most challenging, wandering around the buffet looking for something edible. The food from the pool side grill was precooked (I think the year the ship was launched) and wrapped, and the dining room served what was on the the buffet. The only nice meal we had was at the Indian restaurant which was an extra charge. Room service breakfast is continental and very basic. The entertainment was also disappointing. I would have really enjoyed an in house cover band. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Just wanted a short break to take some non cruisers on a trial cruise...so we did a 3 nighter from Adelaide to Melbourne in 4 cabins. The ship was old and tired, the staff dis-interested and this reflected in the food, some surly waiters ... Read More
Just wanted a short break to take some non cruisers on a trial cruise...so we did a 3 nighter from Adelaide to Melbourne in 4 cabins. The ship was old and tired, the staff dis-interested and this reflected in the food, some surly waiters and the entertainment. After 3 days, everyone was more than happy to get off ! I dont think I could have handled one day more! So two formal dining rooms serving the same food, Horizon food buffet and 2 and half paid restaurants at £16 per person surcharge plus extras on some dishes eg. £2.50 for an angus burger... The food was lacking in variety and the quality was pretty poor. (I would say Holland America and Princess offer double the variety). Very little fresh fruit eg no bananas in site, salads lacked greenery (surely they could have picked up supplies in perth?). Meat was tough. One roast a night and they would cut two small thin slices! In three days: They could not confirm a golf simulator session. A pilates class was cancelled with no notice, a yoga class also cancelled with no notice and the painting session started half an hour earlier than advertised as they forgot to change their clocks for the half hour difference when crossing into Victoria from South Australia....so I missed that! The cabin was fine. Friendly cabin cleaners. Entertainment was endless quizzes. The stage was cramped .... Must however give a shoutout to the band Caravan who were fabulous. They also had a lady on who talked about the Oceans and the effect of humans on the oceans. Sooooo interesting. Some went to a talk about the Canning stock route but said the presenter was not good. Very limited staff at reception so when you had a question, they would page say the entertainment people who would not get back to them... My husband went back 4 times to ask about a golf simulator booking and he is stillllll waiting for a reply! Very few children but majority were of course British people, being a British ship and average age would probably be 65+ and many walkers, scooters etc In terms of atmosphere, there was none! Some ships just have a positive vibe....this was not one of them! One of our group had a pusher - and he found it easy enough to get around Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Price/smaller ship/traditional ship (2000 passengers?) The ship is traditional older class and embarks on a world cruise in Southampton UK once a year in January .Special deals are offered to fill some legs of the journey at reduced ... Read More
Price/smaller ship/traditional ship (2000 passengers?) The ship is traditional older class and embarks on a world cruise in Southampton UK once a year in January .Special deals are offered to fill some legs of the journey at reduced prices perhaps to sell the cabins and ours was Singapore to Fremantle section ...Last year we did Darwin to Hong Kong I can't believe how much the service and offerings such as restaurant varieties offerings and standard and general demeanor of staff has declined in just under 12 months since our last trip .Most of the staff including wait staff were very apathetic and had a "attitude"to dealing with any issues that arose and it certainly reflected(perhaps they were getting tired since commencing the journey of world cruise) There was talk on board that P&O are discontinuing the world cruise segment of this ships itinerary from now . Please be fully aware that a great deal of passengers due to age and physical conditions would be perhaps having their final holidays/cruise and many are quite infirm or lack a good deal of mobility .(Walking aids/zimmer frames and wheel chairs abound ) If you are looking for a fun /vibrant/exciting cruise holiday or ship then the Aurora is not it. The ship although once grand is very tired after 17years and very dated decor such as furnishings and carpets etc The balcony cabin my wife and i had was adequate although very dull and dated in furnishings and appearance . I was fully aware of the limitations and age of ship when booking after last year ,however my major concern was how much it has gone downhill in standards and service since then . In my opinion it is time for the Aurora to be retired from service due to age and condition Based on my experiences on this trip i would not be booking any future cruises with P&O as the competition certainly do it a lot better with more modern offerings Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We have cruised previously with Royal Caribbean, Carnival,Norwegian, Thomson and P&O, after a horrible experience with P&O ( I won't go into details suffice to say they have absolutely no customer service) we didn't want ... Read More
We have cruised previously with Royal Caribbean, Carnival,Norwegian, Thomson and P&O, after a horrible experience with P&O ( I won't go into details suffice to say they have absolutely no customer service) we didn't want to go on this cruise but it was for a friends wedding and had been booked before we had the horrible experience so couldn't get out of it. We decided to go with an open mind and hope it would be better than we were expecting. I have to say I had no issues with the ship it was well maintained and clean with nice decor and ambiance. The staff were all excellent and we received great service in all areas. The food in the speciality restaurants was excellent, Sindhu and the Beach house are definately worth a visit. The main dining room was OK but I felt the buffet left a lot to be desired it was the same stuff day in day out with little choice. Maybe I have been spoilt but Norwegian's buffet was soooo much better. I felt the entertainment on this ship was really lacking, I joined the choir which I thoroughly enjoyed and my husband and kids did the golf and cricket which they all enjoyed ( cancelled 2 days out of 4 due to bad weather not within P&O control but had no back up ) but that was it. There was no music by the pool,no silly games no fun if you wanted it. And as for the naff, cringeworthy British sail away ugh. Doubt we will cruise again as after an all inclusive land based holiday in Mexico we are done with cruising, but if in the future we decide to do another one it will not be with P & O it will be one of the American lines who know how to have a good time . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise to visit new locations e.g The Gambia, Cape Verdi, and Tenerife. Shortly before joining the ship but after having the Yellow Fever vaccination we were told that the Gambia visit had been cancelled. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit new locations e.g The Gambia, Cape Verdi, and Tenerife. Shortly before joining the ship but after having the Yellow Fever vaccination we were told that the Gambia visit had been cancelled. The communication from P&O was terrible, I had notified them 6 months earlier that we wished to disembark early in Gran Canaria and had received an email confirming this. On boarding nobody was aware of our early disembarkation. The choice of food at the buffet was very poor unless you like Curry and faggots!!! The dining room was the worst we have experienced in 70 cruises, one night the tablecloth was badly stained, another night it was badly torn, and when asked for a steak the waiter replied " we don't have any". The speciality restaurant was not much better, when ordering lamb I was told that it is "fatty", in fact it was all fat. The reception staff were clearly not happy in their jobs and one was constantly aware of this. It took them two days to provide a new cabin key. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
dreadful holiday.We have cruised with many companies and have travelled with P.& O nine times,3 times on this ship. NEVER book cabin A318 an outside cabin unless you are happy to have about 12 smokers sitting at a table at your ... Read More
dreadful holiday.We have cruised with many companies and have travelled with P.& O nine times,3 times on this ship. NEVER book cabin A318 an outside cabin unless you are happy to have about 12 smokers sitting at a table at your window.it starts at about 5am and continues through until after midnight. Tables and chairs being dragged outside and above you in the Pennant bar. Company is well aware of the problem but is happy to continue selling this cabin. We had to apply each night to be able to sleep in one of their emergency inside cabins. No compensation offered. The horizon restaurant is more like a works canteen. Poor choice of food and in the evenings only one hot food station is open and you can see queues of up to 40 people waiting. Reception staff are rude and disinterested. Travel itinerary was disrupted by poor weather resulting in the closure of the port of shanghai. As a result we entered shanghai 3 days late only to find we could not go ashore as the ship was now calling only to refuel. The news got worse:Taiwan was now cancelled. We were offered a free glass of house wine with dinner!!! We have lost $400 for the cost of the worthless chinese visas and were not offered any refund of port charges for the 2 ports cancelled. Everyone i spoke to on this ship(many of them repeat p&O passengers)said they will never go P&O again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2016
P and O offer a satisfactory standard but are confused about who their customers are. Cheap deals do mean that there are times when the ship becomes a 'booze cruise ' ( we had some lovely but boisterous Aussie's for ... Read More
P and O offer a satisfactory standard but are confused about who their customers are. Cheap deals do mean that there are times when the ship becomes a 'booze cruise ' ( we had some lovely but boisterous Aussie's for about a week, it was a similar story after CapeTown). We like the formal nights but they are frequent and supposedly optional and here lies the problem. The entertainments manager clearly disagrees with P and O policy that formal is optional which creates unpleasant friction in the theatres and other parts of the ship when both formal and casual come together. We witnessed sneers and abuse which we felt extremely uncomfortable with, it spoils everything. P and O need to take customer feedback more seriously. Their policy of filling empty cabins cheaply requires a more enlightened entertainment''s manager and team who adhere to company policy and treat all customers with the same respect. Would I sail with P and O again? Not before looking elsewhere. It's a great time to travel and there are so many wonderful options when it comes to cruising. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
If this was our first cruise we would have thought well it was OK but, we have had 3 cruises in total so we had something to compare this cruise with. The balcony cabin was the smallest we had been in and not a lot of room for a lengthy ... Read More
If this was our first cruise we would have thought well it was OK but, we have had 3 cruises in total so we had something to compare this cruise with. The balcony cabin was the smallest we had been in and not a lot of room for a lengthy journey. The shore trips were too expensive and were not value for money. When the Captain gave messages over the public address system it was as if he was whispering and no one could hear what he was saying. We had a few hiccups.....smoke in the engine room, a fire in the launderette and divers in Barbados welding underneath the ship. The most disappointing part of this cruise....which should be the best...was the food. I liken it to ferry food, it was basic and served warm....we never had a hot meal. Also disappointing was that there should have been a restaurant for all passengers who did not want to wear evening dress and tuxedos, the Horizon cafe (this is the best word for it), offered this facility but amazingly passengers in full dress regalia used it instead of the restaurants.....perhaps they wanted bigger portions as it is self service. Evening meals in the Horizon cafe were totally forgettable, poor choice and quality and you had to eat here because you were not allowed in the other restaurants or bars if you did not have the correct attire. You knew that the puddings would be bread & butter, fruit salad and some kind of mousse. We will not be choosing P&O again. They should stick to what they are good at...Dover to Calais. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Our first cruise was on the P&O Aurora on 28 Dec for 5 days round Bruges and Hamburg. Both are nice cities well worth a visit and pleasurable day was had at both. Embarkation parking with CPL was great, very efficient. Once ... Read More
Our first cruise was on the P&O Aurora on 28 Dec for 5 days round Bruges and Hamburg. Both are nice cities well worth a visit and pleasurable day was had at both. Embarkation parking with CPL was great, very efficient. Once inside, we had to wait in the lounge until a set time and then queue at a desk to check in, then queue at security, then get on, but it wasn’t too bad. The Aurora was well maintained and about the same standard as a 4 star mainstream hotel. The cabins were clean, and the maid was excellent, servicing the cabin very attentively. There was more room in the cabin than we expected. On board there was entertainment, bars, a casino, lots of shops, restaurants and a very good gym and spa. The gym was too hot to use as the ship is 26 degrees Celsius everywhere, but you could run on the promenade deck if you wanted and get some air. The average age of clients was very old and I would not recommend it for anyone under 65. The set evenings were formal dress which was fine, but what makes people think it is OK to turn up to breakfast not showering still in pyjamas? It was more like an old person’s home than a hotel. That’s not P&Os fault of course but perhaps they should refuse breakfast guests in underwear just as you would refuse someone in trainers and jeans at a black tie diner. Overall the staff were helpful apart from a few – one very rude waiter and one extremely rude car park attendant at the terminal, who was not interested in telling anyone where they could unload or load, just where they couldn’t, which is everywhere. The main problem that would put us off cruising with P&O ever again was the food. Not the quantity or quality (which was OK, like a decent motorway services really, which as they were feeding 2000 people isn’t bad). The problem is the utterly stupid dining rules. You either have to pre-book and eat in the same place at the same time every single night. Or choose freedom dining and go anywhere to be told they are full and no you cannot book anywhere, at anytime. So the restaurant tables are half empty with people who booked but fancied a change and did not show for their booked table. You can’t sit there because it is booked even though it’s empty. The people who did book are somewhere else being told they can’t eat there because it is full and they did not book. Even the staff do not understand the daft rules and contradicted each other at the same food station! P&O read chaos theory – you are causing the problem. Let people just turn up and eat when and where they want and there will be no problem. Old people and kids eat at 18:30, everyone else 20:00 and it balances out. We were set to eat between 18:30 and 20:30 but the waiters wanted us out at 19:45 to reset the table. 5 courses in just over an hour after ordering is too fast. We asked for a 5 min break before dessert but they asked again after 35 seconds and would not take no for an answer. We complained we were forced to leave at 19:45 and asked why? The staff just repeated the message we need the table for 20:30. This happened every night even though we turned up bang on time to start every night. The waiters refused to slow down, it was worse than eating at a fast food restaurant, with a waiter often putting your soup down in front of you while you were still eating the starter. We went to reception to try to sort it out but the staff while polite just repeat the message, ‘it is the rules you have to be out by 20:30’. When we asked to see the rules explaining things they just repeated the message. It seems P&O expect passengers to just know the rules even if the staff don’t. Why were not allowed to finish the meal by 20:00 say, we will never know. So for P&O if you eat between 18:30 and 20:30, it means you start at 18:30 and finish at 19:45 and leave. We even asked what time zone the kitchen was on but it wasn’t that. The other big problem was the shambolic safety drill. We were called to the muster station for the understandably mandatory drill. The two staff at muster station E did not know where muster station E was even though they were at it. The recorded message stuck and was restarted 3 times. The Captain tried to deliver a personal message (probably to apologise) but the speakers cut out twice. They gave up. They do this every week and messed it up. What would happen in a real emergency they have not seen before? No thanks I am not trusting my family’s safety to these guys again. Your life is in the hands of a soup waiter and a croupier who do not know where your muster station is, even when they are already stood at it – no thanks. If you like very regimented holidays, and are over 75 this would be ideal, if not I would not recommend it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
First time on a P & O ship,not impressed, will probably be the last Embarkation was good and well organized although the check in woman could do with a course in PR. Cabin on board was excellent, high on the bridge deck,well ... Read More
First time on a P & O ship,not impressed, will probably be the last Embarkation was good and well organized although the check in woman could do with a course in PR. Cabin on board was excellent, high on the bridge deck,well fitted with plenty of storage space for cases (under the bed provided they are soft side) large locker with ample space for hanging everything. Cabin Steward (Jeffrey) was a joy, kept the whole place well and ship shape, and was always cheerful Dining was not the strong point of this cruise. We were, without recourse to us, assigned to the second sitting in the Alexandria room only went there twice, as (a) the dining time was too late, and (b)the thought of dining with the same people for two weeks was not our style. We attempted twice, to change to freedom dining in the Medina room but met with little cooperation and in one case some hostility. The Horizon buffet is low order food ,lots of it not very well prepared. We ate in the Sindhu Indian restaurant once - it was excellent, Our mainstay for an evening was the Beach House, good food and excellent, cheerful service - a savior. Entertainment was average or below average except for Dr Nick Slope and the gentleman who did the port descriptions who were both outstanding Shore excursions when we used them were adequate but expensive , but this is usual for cruise ships Disembarkation was well organized The dress code is a mindless pain in the neck, it is a harking back to the voyages back from India in the early or middle part of the last century. It does not belong except for one or two "black tie" nights in the trip ,for those who like it. Certainly the smart jacket requirement is totally irksome. This was a cruise not a golf club gala night, it leads to a totally subdued atmosphere, "Middle England" at sea. In general, not a very satisfying experience I will avoid P&O for any future cruises Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Friends/family had continually mentioned about my sister and I going on a cruise, both of us are divorced and travel regularly on holiday so we took the plunge and booked a mini cruise to see Bruges in Belgium as well as Guernsey, as a ... Read More
Friends/family had continually mentioned about my sister and I going on a cruise, both of us are divorced and travel regularly on holiday so we took the plunge and booked a mini cruise to see Bruges in Belgium as well as Guernsey, as a taster cruise. We were texted/emailed re a change in itinerary a couple of days beforehand. It was quite a long time actually boarding Aurora. We decided against waiting for the queues in the buffet as not enough time before our muster meeting. Our muster point in the Cinema was changed from 16.00 to 16.30 (we would have had time for a late lunch in the end) after we had left the cabin with the lifejackets and waiting for 10 mins, so by the time we had had the rescheduled muster meeting at 16.30 and returned to the cabin, we noticed the ship moving, we had no time to get to a top deck with our bottle of Prosecco to wave goodbye to Southampton so made do with a glass of wine on one of lower covered-in decks - not what we had planned. The itinerary was reversed because of the poor weather so Guernsey was first due to the tender boats, one of which was directly underneath our cabin so we were woken at a very early hour by the noise of the tender mechanism being swung out to lower the tender boat. We spent a stormy night at sea and on arrival at Zebrugge (having put our watches forward an hour) were informed that we could not berth so the trip was OFF. We spent a day at sea going up and down the English Channel in a Force 8 gale, most decks were out of bounds (obviously) and when we saw the White Cliffs of Dover, we put our watches back not realising that the ship was staying on Belgium time so we were an hour late for dinner and missed the first show. (We were not the only ones onboard that did this). The toilets blocked. We asked our waiter to ask the wine waiter to order more wine for us and he never returned. There was a very long wait for cocktails in the bar. The bed linen did not smell very fresh. Now I know you cannot help the weather but perhaps we should have stayed with the itinerary and gone to Bruges first - the whole point of my booking this cruise as a cruise to Zebrugge to visit Bruges seemed to be a better option than flying/coach/train - how wrong was I? Plus points, nice cabin and balcony, good food, good entertainment. It was unfortunate that this happened on our first cruise as I was planning a Caribbean cruise for January 2016 but am not sure I want to take the risk regarding ports not accessible because of the weather - as bad weather follows me around the world! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We booked onto this 22 night cruise on P&O Aurora direct with P&O on a vantage fair with a price guarantee stating that if the price reduces we will get the difference in onboard credit or an appropriate upgrade. When we found the ... Read More
We booked onto this 22 night cruise on P&O Aurora direct with P&O on a vantage fair with a price guarantee stating that if the price reduces we will get the difference in onboard credit or an appropriate upgrade. When we found the price £700 cheaper per person a few weeks before the cruise we were told that this was a getaway fare and our price guarantee didn't include this. After pestering P&O we were eventually offered an upgrade but not to the value of the price difference. Boarding in Southampton was swift, we were onboard quickly. We noticed that the age of the cruisers was nowhere near those in the photos on the website or brochure and at age 36 we were at least half the age of 90% of the passengers. Aurora is a beautiful ship and very well maintained but is also being updated at the end of 2014. Our room C290 was spacious and clean. On arrival we had some White Company body lotion, shower gel & conditioner. Bathroom had a small bath with shower. There was a lot of storage space. The food was exceptional. We had lunch nearly every day in the Orangery buffet. There was a great choice of soups, salad, cold cuts and hot meals with veg. For dinner we were seated on a table for 4 but for only my wife and I (which was good as we had asked for a table for 2) at the 2nd sitting in the Medina restaurant. Service provided by Jinesh, Kavesh & wine waiter Dixson was outstanding. Food served were roast turkey, pheasant, steaks and great selection of fish. Deserts and cheese (we mainly had Stilton) we're fantastic too. We had lunch once in Cafe Bordeaux which put us off booking for the evening. I had minute steak with fries & salad which was bland, my wife had a goats cheese pie which was ok. Deserts were the same as the Orangery. The other passengers, as mentioned, were mostly elderly, retired types nothing like the 40 something's on the website. Found most people to be be rude, snobby and miserable. If they did engage in conversation we were always asked if we were doing the whole world cruise and to our reply they would say 'only the short trip then'. We were on for 22 nights, this is not a short trip. They were happy to stand in your way, not return a hello or good morning and push in to queues. Daytime entertainment. As mentioned we were much younger than most passengers so the activities were not aimed at us. Knit & natter, quoits, shuffleboard, tennis, golf nets and quizzes. We usually did the individual quiz at 5.30pm just for something to do, we did one movie memory quiz but the movies were all from the 50s & 60s so we didn't know half the questions and the other quizzes were offered during our meal or show times so we weren't able to do them. As a 2nd sitting passenger we found the main forms of entertainment were aimed at 1st sitting guests. After a day in port there was a sail away party which was where you get the liveliest 30 minutes on the ship at 4.30pm. Cinema is good, films are not. We watched The Host & The Great Gatsby. Cruise director only likes really good cinematic films and thinks all new films are rubbish. Drinks are priced reasonably, cheapest bottle of wine is £13.95, beers are £3.45, g&t £4.50 and glass of prosecco £3.50. Some pubs charge a lot more than this so it's good to get these prices at sea. Entertainment in the evening, on the whole, was ok. Il Davina, Philip Browne (from Lion King), Dean Richardson (Freddy Mercury impersonator), John Udry (comedy juggler) all stand out. Roy Walker was good. The P&O singers and dancers were very amateur, after watching 2 of their shows we decided to miss the rest. Most others acts made you fall asleep which may have been the idea as every night the cruise director asked if we were going to bed now at 11.15pm. Of course, everyone did go to bed. Masquerades and DJ Charlie Brown. Is there any point of these being on the ship. At 11.15pm after the show everyone goes to bed. We walked all over the ship many nights to find a bar with people having late night drinks but it was always dead everywhere. Ports of call. La Coruña was not on the itinerary but due to bad weather we went here instead of Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The town is nice but due to it being 6th January (Spanish Xmas day) everything was closed. We just went for a long walk and a drink, might be ok on a non fiesta day. In Antigua we did the stingray sensation tour booked with P&O. I would highly recommend this trip. Swimming with stingrays and feeding them is an amazing experience. You also get to hold the stingrays and if they like you they stay in your arms for a long cuddle. The staff were informative and friendly. After we were offered rum punch and you could buy a photo if you wanted (not forced on you). I would recommend doing a trip in this port as there isn't a great deal to see in Oranjestad. Aruba, we booked a Segway tour privately with Aruba Segway Tours. We were picked up from the cruise terminal, had a 2 hour tour which went up to the lighthouse and back to Moomba Beach, then had 2 hours on the beach and were taken back to the ship. We then wondered around St Johns shops for a while. Transit through the Panama Canal, an amazing experience. The wildlife in this area is wonderful. We saw sloth, monkeys, toucans, vultures and much more. The canal system is very impressive. You get a new captain for the transit and he makes many announcements all through the day about the new locks being built, the wildlife, the building of the canal, etc... Put some sun cream on, get up early to get a good position on an open deck and take binoculars and a camera. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. We booked a P&O tour to hike the mombacho volcano. A great experience but more of a slow dawdle when you're with the elderlies from P&O. Lunch after in Grenada in a restaurant after being pestered by the locals to buy pots and bird whistles (a simple no does not work nor does walking off, they wait for you outside the restaurant too). Overnight in San Francisco. We were supposed to dock at 12pm so we booked a private Segway tour for 3pm. Ha! 4 days before getting there we found out by watching the port talk on TV about the immigration procedure. Something P&O don't tell you when you book even though they know about it. We actually docked early. We were under the Golden Gate Bridge at 9.50am, beautiful views of the bridge and Alcatraz, and docked by 11am. Immigration came on at 11.30am to do the face to face inspection which every passenger has to go through before anyone on the ship can get off. This took 4 hours. Then everyone tries to get off the ship after the announcement that we should all use the forward stairs to get to deck 5 which led to great confusion and arguments from the idiots that used the middle stairs as the people who did it correctly where then sent to the back of their queue. We got off the ship at 3.45pm. We missed our Segway tour. We had time to see the sealions, Coit Tower (closed for refurbishment) and China town before it got dark. We headed to the Cable Car museum but that was closed as was after 5pm. We then walked down Lombard Street crooked street and headed off for a beer on pier 39. We ate in Pier Market, clam chowder and Cioppino fish stew and the onto the bars in North Beach. We had been told by reception that we were not allowed off the ship in the morning as our cards would be taken as it was departure day and we wouldn't be able to get back to the terminal which infuriated us but we asked again at security on the final morning and they said it was fine so we went to see the sealions again. Pick up for the airport was at 11am for our 4.20pm flight arranged by P&O again. We were 5 hours early for our flight and everyone on the bus was on the same flight. I checked our booking confirmation and it states we should have been picked up in early evening. I have no idea why we were dropped off so early. We had to wait 2 hours for the check in desk to open. Had P&O informed us about the actual time we would spend in San Francisco we would have booked a hotel night and flown home a day later but on asking at reception they said this was not possible after the cruise had started. On the whole we had a fabulous holiday because my wife & I really enjoy each other's company but for us there were too many days at sea with nothing to do & we usually enjoy days at sea. P&O had annoyed us before we started the holiday with the price promise, then the entertainment and timings didn't impress and finishing with the San Francisco mis-timings fiasco we have had enough of this company. We have left feeling very disappointed. We'll stick with Royal Caribbean from now on, fun at sea!   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
My intention was not to share our experience via the on-line community but to do what the Captain banged on about on our cruise, if you have a concern first raise it with P&O and give them a chance to address it" ok, so I did and ... Read More
My intention was not to share our experience via the on-line community but to do what the Captain banged on about on our cruise, if you have a concern first raise it with P&O and give them a chance to address it" ok, so I did and I go my response, no response. Despite the rhetoric on the P&O website. Take the time to read the process. First you will find that P&O does not have complaints merely "feedback" what is it they say about an alcoholic before they can start recover they have to face up to the facts. P&O is in denial you can dress a complaint up how you like but for the client experiencing the issue and feeling the need to provide "feedback" it is a COMPLAINT. Now to be fair, We love P&O, or loved P&O, sadly I think the love affair is waning. Not just from our recent experience but from each trip in the last few years. Each time we have gone the service has got worse. My advice to any new cruisers is to definitely try cruising but only go the once ! For your first time you will have no bench mark to realise the next time you go you will pay more for less. So go once then stop. Keep the memory precious. If you don't you risk getting like the rest of us. Sooner or later you will have a bad experience and it is here you will find out how good P&O is. In our case poor. Ok, We thought we would try a short cruise this year to Fjord. Never been to Norway so thought we would try. No problem with cruise, weather good, ports of call all good, toilets did not block, norovirus. Definitely agree with other comments that food has got worse. the menus' unlike other years were boring. Quality/presentation average, Food was thrown in front of you then cleared away almost while still eating. Reminded me of upmarket Butlins which I think is where P&O is repositioning itself to fit into the market - stack it high sell it cheap philosophy. Entertainment is generally good. If you have been a few times it can get a bit repetitive but, to be fair to the staff appear to work extremely hard and generally deliver to a high standard so well done to them. Comedian was good. Children's club is good. Ours loved it. Cabins are getting tired but I think this is recognised hence the pending refit. Gym ok but I used daily and found often the entertainments systems where non functional i.e. requiring reboots. The sign of sloppy attention to maintaining machines. Service was functional, since compulsory tipping came in (you know what I mean), service is not what it used to be. Even if it was fake before, it was part of the experience. Unlike now, a lot of the staff could not care less that came across loud and clear. The highlight of our experience was embarkation where we were dealt with so poorly and shamefully that it brought an 80 year recently bereaved lady to tears. A person who had cruised for years with P&O, who paid full price but, who P&O favoured a late booking getaway passenger over. The staff dealing with were at times acting as if they were brain dead. A simple problem causing so much stress that any one capable of thinking about the problem, could solve in about 10 seconds but no. The person handled the issue so badly. I have to say I have experienced some things in my life but, this was truly stunning. While I have adopted a little cynical tone, I am not really in life, optimistic but I do appreciate common sense, honesty and accountability words that P&O is loosing the understanding of. Again, to be fair, I am sure P&O have to put up with a lot of unfair whining from clients but that goes with the territory, When you have clients spending many thousands of pounds one should expect some competence, efficiency and decent customer service. P&O still expects to charge a premium for ferry standard service. Where staff think they can abuse their position. Shame as the service levels, fair pricing and value for money were what made P&O stand head and shoulders above the competition. NOT ANYMORE!!! Strangely and never before, I left the ship this year feeling disappointed and in part cheated. Cheated by that experience at the start of a special holiday spoiling it for such an avoidable reason. So for the first time ever I wrote to P&O to provide some feedback thinking they may at very least write to the lady they distressed apologising even if they did not have the decency to respond to me. But, despite the stated feedback process indicating acknowledgement within 14 days I have heard nothing. Par for the course I now think. P&O have spoken loud and clear to my family. I am not saying don't cruise P&O, I like to think deep down its still a good company but I have to say the experience has changed my outlook for P&O. From where I have observed and experienced P&O has lost its way or, maybe, embarked on a concious new direction (pound shop customer service strategy) targeting new clients. Culture they say comes from the top. If the staff act poorly then it is because these are the signals they get from their line management. Maybe the UK CEO needs to take a look in the mirror and ask himself some frank questions or take another swig from the bottle and ignore the feedback. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Having been on other cruises and loved them, especially the azura, we booked the family friendly cruise to Norway, assuming the brochure was correct when it said there was entertainment for the whole family and the same high quality food. ... Read More
Having been on other cruises and loved them, especially the azura, we booked the family friendly cruise to Norway, assuming the brochure was correct when it said there was entertainment for the whole family and the same high quality food. The cabin was ok, but it seemed that every staff member had family on board so they got the pick of cabins and use of the facilities. Our first disappointment was the quality of the food, we never had a hot meal all week, even after sending cold items back they returned with only slightly warmer food. Not much of it had any taste and it seemed the budgets had been cut as there were thing like 'egg mayonnaise' as a starter and 'blancmange' as a sweet option every night. And they make you dress up for this too Every piece of meat was chewy and tasteless. We also expected the buffet to offer more choice. At night you only got what the theme was such as spanish or italian and no other choices unlike the full spread of the azura. It never said in the brochure that the food was different on each boat it only described how much they loved food and the high quality of it. We went to the buffet on indian night and was first in the queue but the items were still not hot. The food manager didnt seem interested in comments as 'we were the only ones who thought this', but many other people were also disappointed, even a couple who had been on the aurora 5 times felt it had gone downhill rapidly. The other thing we were disappointed in was the range of entertainment. Apart from the comedian on 2 nights out of 7 there was no suitable show for our age group and children to enjoy. All the music was from the 40's,50s,60's and 70's. Songs which we didn't know let alone the children.The shows we tried to sit in were particularly poor. Even the music quizzes we eagerly awaited where tailored to older music. The cruise director said it was the end of the season, and we should just put the children in the kids clubs and enjoy the old music. But we wanted to spend time together as a family and see things together. The cinema screenings were packed out which says something we feel. The ships toilets also got blocked many times and there was an ever present sewer smell on our deck (5). We would never have booked it if the brochure was honest and said it was tailored to pensioners for entertainment and easy to chew food, and was nowhere near the standard of our Azura trip Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Embarkation was excellent, slick and quick. On arrival the cabins were ready and looked in reasonable condition. However, after 2 days the air conditioning broke down and became stuck on cold. The engineer came out to fix it, he spent over ... Read More
Embarkation was excellent, slick and quick. On arrival the cabins were ready and looked in reasonable condition. However, after 2 days the air conditioning broke down and became stuck on cold. The engineer came out to fix it, he spent over 2 hours in our cabin so we missed being able to get ready for dinner. He then said he had fixed it. Well, he had stopped it from blowing cold air - it would not cool the room when the temperature outside was in the 30's! They sent another engineer who made me feel as if I was a menopausal middle aged woman suffering hot flushes. We asked for the temperature to be measured with the air conditioning on the lowest setting it would go - It was 24 degrees in our room!!! They then provided us with a desk fan!!!!!! Throughout the cruise there seemed to be problems with the air conditioning not only in the other cabins but also in venues such as the theatre which became uncomfortable hot on several nights. The range of entertainment was the poorest we have had on a cruise, although one act - Gareth Oliver a ventriloquist was the best act we have ever seen. After the theatre show there was hardly anything on at all, except for ball room dancing or quizzes. The food was excellent and although this was not a fault of P & O we had a couple with the worst table manners we have ever known. The lady of the couple would begin her meal before the vegetables were given out - she hardly had veg and if she was served first she would finish her meal before the rest of the table had been served!!!!! Throughout the cruise there seemed to be maintenance problems, with buckets appearing with regularity along many corridors to catch leaks. One leak flooded the Carmen venue and closed it for two days further curtailing the entertainment choice. The smell at some parts of the ship was unbearable to even sit in at some places on deck.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
From the minute we stepped on board we thought we had stepped back in time, the decor was very drab, the welcome was even duller. We had to wait for all the cabins to be turned over before anyone could get to their cabin. The cabins was ... Read More
From the minute we stepped on board we thought we had stepped back in time, the decor was very drab, the welcome was even duller. We had to wait for all the cabins to be turned over before anyone could get to their cabin. The cabins was spacious enough, the steward was very pleasant. There were no welcoming drinks and the sail away party was the worst we had ever experienced, was half expecting Vera Lynn to start singing. The entertainment was very poor, forty five minutes of one act, they were very good, but it took the entertainment team a week before they put on a show, again about forty five minutes and nothing to write home about. On the second week one of us had food poisoning and was confined to the cabin for four days, we blamed this on the poor hygiene practices especially in the Orangery dining area. We stopped using the Medina restaurant as the food was never hot. In the Orangery, the glasses were dirty, on one occasion both glasses at our table had lipstick on the rim. The waiters never moved out of your way, never made eye contact and never smiled. I complained to the restaurant manager and he blamed the hard water?This was our first and definitely our last P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Oh dear Oh dear. We have cruised now with P&O for around 8 years, our previous sailing four years ago on board Oriana from Southampton to the Caribbean and back. Our Son got married on board and we had a wonderful time despite a storm ... Read More
Oh dear Oh dear. We have cruised now with P&O for around 8 years, our previous sailing four years ago on board Oriana from Southampton to the Caribbean and back. Our Son got married on board and we had a wonderful time despite a storm at sea. There was plenty of things to do and the entertainment and food on board was varied and of good quality. Two years ago we went with friend on a Mediterranean cruise on board Royal Caribbean and although the ship was good, we praised at the time to our friends to try and used P&O as we felt it was so much better. How can a company change so much in four years. Read on. Our first encounter was with the boarding disruption at Southampton. After travelling some two hours a distance of nearly 135 miles, one didn't expect to have to wait in a traffic hold up at the port entrance to the ship in an hour of traffic. This we we're first told was due to excess luggage after the world cruise and then to be told of a computer failure. The first excuse doesn't really hold true as this wouldn't have been the first time a cruise ship has returned from a world cruise, and the second excuse a feeble one unless the computers has not been checked or maintained (This comes from my son in law an IT whiz kid). It was a complete shambles and not a good start to the holiday. When we eventually boarded we quickly explored the ship and ended up near the Crystal pool where the dome that is clearly advertised as "She even has one pool which can be covered by a sky dome" was being repaired and hand winched closed. This was really unsatisfactory as it was hand winched open and left open in all weathers, which proved a problem on one evening when the pool party that had to be held around the other pool, finished prematurely because rain stopped play,,,,,,,,,, Literally. Over the period of our holiday there was little to keep most people we spoke to from young to elderly amused. The resident show theatre company we're of good standard and worked hard to entertain, but most of the guest acts of board were terrible. We have at home better street buskers than most of the acts were on board. We had to contend with a West End female vocalist that took great pleasure in informing everyone who she had rubbed shoulders with on her outstanding career and a Singer Songwriter who's claim to fame was writing, or co-writing a song for Barry Maniloe which incidentally was many years ago, and again took great pleasure in telling everyone how wonderful he was. The fact was that several people walked out of the Curzon Theatre and many more that I assume did not see him on his first performance, walked out on his second appearance at the Carmen's venue. He could not only crucify any song with his singing but even managed to destroy any credibility of piano playing with a Ragtime number. The most annoying and totally inappropriate artist was the after dinner speaker ex MP. This was conveniently placed to make sure everyone had an early night, as after watching a show at one end of the ship to go to the other end to listen to him, he killed the evenings dancing which followed. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to book an after dinner speaker who boasted of his serving on the government, boasted of his political party and boasted of his involvement of Dyson cleansers to the point of stating that P&O's use of the "Henry" hoovers was a huge mistake because they chuck loads of dust out and that we all should buy Dyson ones. And the truly tropical Caribbean style band. Or not. Apparently the leader of the band had a passport that was under six months expiry and missed the ship at Southampton. Now common sense would be find another band suitable through the hundreds of agencies in the UK and fly them out to the Azores. Simple. But oh no, the band was eventually flown out to Barbados and we celebrated Caribbean music after leaving Barbados and on route back to Madeira. Very apt. Who actually picks the acts? And do they only get them from agencies and not see who they have booked. I work with dramatics and have had some experience in booking acts for clubs, I only booked an act that I had seen, not on an agencies recommendation (they are going to be biased as they want a booking, and I'm sure that I could have done a better job. The food was fantastic with a great selection and reasonable portions in the restaurant's, but this was four years ago. On this occasion the food was good but the quantity and selections, especially in the "Orangery" was poor compared to four years ago. I know that everyone is trying to cut costs, but there does come a point when people notice, and we were not alone. The only people we spoke to throughout our holiday that were none the wiser were first time cruisers. The ship was looking tatty with worn carpets, lighting bulbs broken, hand dryers not working and general dEcor shabby. We have cruised before on Oriana and although an older ship, she was beautifully kept. Now to P&O's first Lady Captain. Sarah Bretton! Did she and her staff have a personal hygiene phobia or do they all have highly contagious skin conditions? As when a hand of anyone was put out in the Formal Captain pictures to shake it was evident that this is not acceptable. And when I had a photo taken with me one side and my wife the other, my wife said to the Captain "is this ok" referring to the distance next to the Captain for a photo, to be told, "that's far enough". Also whilst speaking to a regular frequent traveller who was a gold member and had spoken to one of the Officers on board, said that they had been instructed not to shake hands with guests. Before I am given some mundane excuse as to why this is not done, take a look at your in-cabin advertisement for the Azura. Does it not show a sociable captain and officers mixing with their guests. If the captain in her wisdom doesn't like bodily contact then why not wear gloves or have a hand cleanser to hand, after all the whole ships guests have at least three hand cleanses a day with the sanitary hand cleanser. And another point is if the Captain doesn't want to get infected, I assume she doesn't touch any part of the ship, including the glasses she and her officers drink from. I am not a smoker, but respect the areas set aside on board for smokers. This rule apparently doesn't apply to ships officers who made a brief visit to the pool night party. Non-smokers on the Starboard side, smokers on the port side and smoking officers who were apparently exempt, in the bar in the middle which incidentally didn't have ashtrays, so where did the ash go? The Pools have Jacuzzis. I can understand that the pool in bad weather condition's is closed for safety, but why were the Jacuzzis affected. Or more to the point one. It was drained and left emptied and out of action for several days until it was refilled again. And a final gripe, the Dance room ( Carmen's) placed very strategically at the Stern of the ship. I'm no expert on ship control but common sense would suggest that the venue in the rough sea conditions would be very unstable at the stern. The Discotheque was placed midship. No-one, and I mean No-one was using it until the early hours so why not make full use of the venue by changing the programme. Common senses again. In conclusion both myself and wife found the whole experience this time with P & O a shambles. There is only so much you can cut back on and sadly in the four years in which we have not used P & O it shows immensely . With more and more companies using Southampton as a base and all competitively priced, I can foresee that P & O will suffer unless a rethink is in hand. Don't get us wrong, we love cruising, but this experience has somewhat marred P & O's credibility as one of the top. And this would be such a shame. Read Less
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 5.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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